One of my favorite things about photography is printing. There is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing your photos for the first time, something digital images may have taken away but you can still capture that feeling by having your photos enlarged and printed on canvas. Ever since my first days with my little yellow Kodak Instamatic there was something Christmas-like about picking up a new roll of freshly developed film. I haven’t felt that in a while. I blame the recent discovery of an old roll of film on my new obsession with printing. This time however I decided to go LARGE and have a couple of photos printed on canvas using the Costco photo center. I was not disappointed in fact I am having to show some serious restraint not to cover my walls floor to ceiling with these canvases. The pictures came out amazing and it took less than a week turnaround.
Tips for using Costco Photo Center
When it comes to choosing a photo the first thing that maters is the image resolution.
from costco help: “All digital images captured by digital camera, camera phone, or scanner are composed of pixels (pixels is a short form of picture element). As a general rule: the more pixels an image contains (the higher the resolution), the better the picture quality. A high resolution means that you have more flexibility when cropping your photos, adding them to photo gifts, or editing them. The tradeoff for a high resolution is that the file size of your digital images will be much larger.”
The standing rule has always been the higher the resolution the larger you can print your photo. Resolution is the amount of pixels in one square inch of your photo, the rule is the more pixels the more information, the more information about the photo the larger you blow you print up without getting fuzzy or what is commonly known as pixelated. I found a good tutorial online that talks all about image resolution. If you don’t know the dimensions of your photo Costco will let you know if your image is too small for the size you want to print but that can be a hassle if you are constantly uploading only to find out its too small. So let me show you how you can look up that info on your photo.
For those of you who use Photoshop or LightRoom you already know about this stuff you can skip on ahead, For the rest of us who don’t have fancy editing software, which you don’t need for this, can find out the dimensions of your photo by rolling or right clicking (on a PC) over the photo. On a Mac you If you right click the photo and then click on the Details tab you will also see resolution. In this case I had formatted it for the web with a low resolution at 72 dpi (dots per inch) pixels, I do this for most of my online photos to prevent people from being able to reprint my work. I would stick with 300 dpi is a good number for printing.
I wanted to print the shoreline photo and I knew I had a couple different copies so in order to find the one with the highest resolution I ran the mouse over the photo and the dimensions appeared. This photo at 2000 x 1333 was not the highest quality photo and would not work for the size I was interested in (16 x 32) so I found a larger file that was 5616 x 3744.
When you upload your photo and try to order a size that is too large because of image resolution Costco will warn you. You will need to either find a higher resolution photo or try reducing the canvas size. In this case I was trying to order the 16 x 32 with the photo that was 2000 x 1333.
Click on more info and you will see the size guidelines (tip: print out a copy) You might notice that canvas size 16×32 is not on there, just use a dimension that is slightly larger as a guideline, 20 x 30 requirements are more than you need for the smaller 16 x 32 so anything that is at least 2700 x 1800 would work.
Once you get the photo uploaded, assuming no warnings about print quality you can drag the photo within the guidelines, in my case I moved it up so more beach would show instead of sky.
You can choose to have it framed or wrapped, I choose image wrapped so you can see the image from the side as it is wrapped around the frame, I think this looks best, plus its like a little hidden part of the photo. My daughter pointed out she found a “secret blue tent”
Next add it to you cart and proceed to checkout, you have a choice to have it sent to you or picked up at whatever Costco location you want. I ordered two prints and I was given a turnaround time of 5 days and I ordered it on a Thursday and picked it up that next Tuesday. The canvases were boxed and packaged with care. I was very pleased at meticulous they were about protecting the images. Each print has two rubber pads placed on the bottom corners to help it lay flat once hung.
Ava stands in the garage with her photo, we just wanted to see what it looked like hanging ANYWHERE. I took that image with an underwater case on my iPhone. Yes you can enlarge your iPhone images just make sure you images are always set to the highest setting. The image of her swimming in my sister pool has a very special place in my heart. It represents a lot of things, my daughter and how she overcame her fear of the water, how precious life is (symbolized by holding the breath) and then there is what happened minutes later after I captured that, when a life was almost taken from us. You can read about what happened here.
Life can change in an instant, more reason to surround yourself with happy images. I’m getting ready to place my next order as soon as I get the photos back from our vacation. I’m also considering doing some canvases for my ETSY shop using some of the Instax photos from our recent trip but that will require some scanning and maybe a little Photoshop help. I’ll let you know how it goes. I have seen some great Polaroids printed on to canvas or even old photos blown up to poster size (<– check out Holly’s tutorial.)
Here is a downloadable PDF file of the COSTCO PRICE SHEET. The 16×32 (beach) was 64.99 and the 16×20 (Ava) was 44.99.
I may have to dedicate some serious wall space to my new obsession. What would you blow up? Do you have any special images from the summer? I’d love to see them, leave a link in your comments so I can go check them out.